Linda Evangelista's Fat Freezing Disaster
By now, you’ve probably seen the news reports about supermodel Linda Evangelista’s unfortunate experience with fat-freezing.
Since we’ve had patients asking us about it in clinic, let’s talk about it...
First, here’s what we know.
Around 5 years ago, Linda underwent a fat-freezing procedure, which is commonly used to get rid of stubborn fat.
We’re not sure exactly which area she had treated, but it seems likely it was under her chin.
We do not treat under the chin area with fat freezing.
We use HIFU technology for this area instead.
Unfortunately, she developed a condition called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia. This is a known side-effect where fat-freezing does the opposite of what’s intended...
Instead of shrinking the fat in the treated area, the fat cells actually thicken and expand - causing a firm mass of tissue under your skin.
In pictures, her face does appear quite swollen. Linda says she was left unrecognizable and that this has sent her into a cycle of depression and isolation.
She is now suing Zeltiq, the maker of the CoolSculpting machine.
So first of all, my heart goes out to Linda Evangelista.
She has undoubtedly gone through a very harrowing experience. It’s terrible when a treatment has the opposite effect to the one you want and makes you look and feel worse, not better.
In her case, she depended on her appearance to make her living and so this unwelcome change must have been doubly difficult for her.
It’s important to understand that PAH is extremely rare - it occurs in just 0.0051% of cases and is typically more common in male patients (we don’t know why).
Given that millions of people get fat-freezing each year, we’re talking about a tiny handful of cases globally. (And by the way, this isn’t just a side-effect of CoolSculpting; It can occur with any fat-freezing technique.)
Linda Evangelista claims that she wasn’t aware of the risk when she had her procedure.
It’s possible, especially given that she was treated 5 years ago, when awareness of PAH was lower.
It does, however, underscore the importance of going only to reputable, qualified providers like us.
Patients who experience PAH have a few choices.
They can do nothing - and sometimes they prefer that.
Or we can excise the fatty cells through surgery or lipo.
Unfortunately, Linda Evangelista claims that she went through two corrective surgeries that were both unsuccessful, but again that’s extremely rare.
Sadly, she seems to be a victim of terrible bad luck.
Ultimately, I believe strongly in fat-freezing. Our patients have had wonderful, life-changing results with it and it continues to be one of our most popular treatments.
I’ve had it myself. Here are my results.
It has been studied extremely extensively in multiple clinical studies and the risk of complications is extremely small.
But if you have stubborn fat you want to get rid of and would prefer other options, we have those for you too - just ask! (Although of course they come with their own risks...)
And if you have any further questions about fat-freezing and what happened to Linda Evangelista, please do drop us a line or ask us in clinic. I’m happy to talk to you about it.